KLI Project



Kenya Lighting Industries x Nairobi Design Week

Thanks to all those who applied!

The finalists' designs launched at 209 Statehouse Road during Nairobi Design Week 2020 on 8-14 March!

Nairobi has a constant need for new urban furniture and lighting solutions. KLI has the manufacturing expertise to create future products needed by the city’s architects, designers and planners. The NDW community is full of talented designers who want the opportunity to express themselves creatively and shape the continent.

3 creatives will be invited to take part in a 1 week (5 day) residency programme at KLI during February 2020, how industrial manufacturing methods like laser cutting, CNC punching and electrostatic powder coating work.


During the week, each selected finalist will design a new concept product for KLI’s catalogue, which will be manufactured by KLI and launched as a key part of Afrika Design on March 9th at Nairobi Design Week 2020. The prototype products will be fixed in place at the venue, as part of a larger creative collaboration to restore the space. 

You’ll be featured in THE URBAN RESIDENCY toolkit created afterwards, shared with the NDW community, and your products will have an opportunity to be selected for the KLI catalogue.


Create a design for one of the listed products, which can be made by laser cutting and folding sheet metal, combined with metal piping:

  • Basketball hoops
  • Street furniture (benches, seats, tables, posts, dividers)
  • Amenity lighting (street, path, floodlights)
  • Pop up food & drinks stall.
  • Mobile garden shade/shop canopy.
  • Solar charging station (for villages, USB & mains).


  • You’ll leave a legacy, ensuring the community gets to enjoy a more fun environment for years to come!
  • An opportunity to spend time with the KLI team at their headquarters. You’ll see first hand industrial-size laser cutters, welding and pipe bending, and learn how to create designs for manufacture.
  • You’ll get to see your prototype made and installed, and will be invited as a special guest at the launch during Afrika Design on Monday March 9th 2020.
  • You’ll be part of a Q&A during Careers in Design on Thursday 12th March.
  • You and your design will be featured across NDW’s website, social media, and during the festival. You’ll be featured in the toolkit ed
  • Lunch at KLI and 1,000 KSh/day stipend from KLI. (5,000KSh total)
  • An NDW goodie bag.
  • Upon completion of the residency, a certificate and letter of recommendation.


Application period open until midnight EAT on Sunday February 2nd 2020. 


  • Wednesday 22nd January 2020: THE URBAN RESIDENCY online Q&A #1. Register Here. 1pm-1:40pm EAT.
  • Monday 26th January 2020: THE URBAN RESIDENCY online Q&A #2 Register Here. 5pm-5:40pm EAT.
  • Sunday February 2nd 2020: APPLICATION DEADLINE
  • Tuesday February 4th 2020: EXTENDED APPLICATION DEADLINE
  • Tuesday 4th February 2020: Wednesday 5th February 2020: Individuals shortlisted for THE URBAN RESIDENCY will be contacted.
  • Monday Feb 10th: Selected residency participants are announced.
  • Monday 17th – Fri 21st February 2020: selected individuals work at KLI in Nairobi to adapt their design for manufacturing.
  • 22nd February – 8th March 2020: KLI compete production of prototypes.
  • Monday 9th March 2020: Prototypes launch at Afrika Design.
  • Thursday 12 March 2020: You’ll appear at a Q&A at Careers in Design to shares your experience.
  • WHAT’S NEXT: You can find more info about The Urban Residency here.

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS & ANSWERS (UPDATED on Friday 24th January 2020 at 20:25 EAT)

Q1 How are we supposed to come up with prototypes, if some of the materials are not locally available?

A1 Prototypes can be made of anything! Use cardboard, paper, pens, tape and scissors to represent your design. Kenya Lighting Industries will provide all materials to make the final design.

Q2 Are we supposed to select from the options what to prototype or we are to come up with prototypes to all of the options?

A2 You can enter a TOTAL of 5 designs for any of the categories you like!

Q3 Are the participants granted with Intellectual copyrights to their prototypes of their designs?

A3 KLI will retain intellectual property and design rights for launched products, but not other competition entries.

Q4 What scope/size of work are we limited to?

A4 Designs can be up to 200cm x 100cm x 100cm (with a height exception for basketball hoops!). Designs can be modular, and consider adding more pieces in the future. Prototypes should cost no more than 20,000KSh to manufacture.

Q5 Are we able to incorporate other materials into the design i.e. lights need glass?

A5 Please only use sheet metal and metal piping, not glass or materials that could endanger the public. Integrated lights will be LEDS.

Q6 Is KLI able to make moulds for cement casting large objects like benches?

A6 Although that’s a great idea, KLI does not do cement casting, therefore unfortunately it will not be possible this time around.


  • There will be online Q&A sessions held on January 22nd and 24th. Please register above if you have questions.
  • Designs should be freestanding, and consider theft prevention measures.
  • You don’t need to worry about things like type of metal, or sheet thickness, but you are welcome to suggest these, as well as finishes and colours.
  • Designs can include organic patterns and shapes.
  • Please provide suggested dimensions for your design.
  • Draw out your designs on a piece of paper or cardboard, then cut them out to bring them to life
  • Make multiple prototypes to see which will look and work best. Feel free to share your process with us.
  • You don’t need to have experience with the tools or materials, just the imagination to come up with a design.
  • Economical to produce, consider design for manufacture. Easy to set up.
  • Components available include metal sheet, posts
  • Designs can be modular and have multiple parts, but try to keep them simple. These and collections of closely related products can be considered a single entry.


Submit your design in a way that communicates it clearly, a combination of any or all the following are suitable:

  • Sketches (2D, 3D or both), 
  • Photographs (e.g. models laid flat and folded).
  • Vector files (pdf/dwg)
  • Videos (provide link in file)

Send your submission AS A SINGLE FILE to residency@nairobidesignweek.com in .pdf, .jpeg or .doc format . Please ensure it’s under 5mb and write URBAN RESIDENCY APPLICATION in the e-mail subject line. Please ensure the application contains your name and phone number, and feel free to provide links to your previous work, website, social media etc.


  • Entries for THE URBAN RESIDENCY (“the residency”) will be judged on their creativity, feasibility and market potential. Entries may be selected even if they are weak in one category, if deemed to excel in another.
  • Applicants should ensure that if selected, they will be able to attend the residency at Kenya Lighting Industries in Nairobi’s Industrial Area, Mon 17th- Fri 21st February 2020 (9am-5pm).
  • Judges will select 3 individuals to take part, and their decision is final.
  • By submitting your entry, you agree to have it posted, along with your name, on Nairobi Design Week’s platforms. Exceptional runners up may be listed.
  • Judges will include experts from the industry, to be announced at Nairobi Design Week 2020.
  • Group submissions are permitted, but should make it clear that it’s a group submission in their application. If selected they’ll have to select one individual to take part in the residency programme.
  • Multiple entries (up to 5 per individual/group) are welcome from those who have several ideas to submit. You can only be selected for one space on the residency. Please submit multiple entries in multiple e-mails to residency@nairobidesignweek.com. Entries will be judged on a one by one basis, so single entries are treated equally in the judging process.
  • Employees of KLI and NDW, their family members and spouses are not allowed to enter.
  • Please ensure you own all the rights for designs you submit
  • KLI will retain intellectual property and design rights for launched products, but not other competition entries.
  • If the products are brought to market, KLI will offer to reward the designers fairly with either: a one-off fee or; royalties on % of sales of their design.
  • THE URBAN RESIDENCY is open to Kenyan, East African & Ethiopian 🇰🇪🇺🇬🇹🇿🇧🇮🇷🇼🇪🇹citizens and residents of all ages. International applications are welcome as long as the lead applicant, who would be participating in the residency, is a Kenyan, East African or Ethiopian citizen/resident and will be in Nairobi for the residency.
  • No formal qualifications are required.
  • Participants are responsible for their own accommodation, travel and expenses during the residency, except for those mentioned as included.
  • The residency aims to be as inclusive as possible, and we will not discriminate on age, social status, background, education, gender, race or disability. Individuals with disabilities or from less privileged backgrounds are encouraged to apply, and we will do our best to ensure that they can participate if selected.


See below what’s possible!


Q&A #1: WEDNESDAY 22nd JAN @ 1-1:40pm (EAT)

Q&A #2: MONDAY 26th JAN @ 5-5:40pm (EAT)

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